Security chief announces Makkah crowd control plan for Ramadan

MAKKAH: Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, the director of Saudi Public Security, has stated the Umrah security plan for Ramadan 2024 includes a well-organized system to manage crowds, especially during prayer times, with specific attention given to Tarawih and TaHajjud prayers.

During the Ministry of Interior’s press conference for senior Umrah security figures in Makkah on Saturday, he noted that the plan for Umrah during Ramadan will undergo a review, adding that the Mataf courtyard and ground floor will be exclusively reserved for Umrah performers.

Al-Bassami stated that special teams have been deployed to address issues such as begging and sleeping in prohibited areas, which disrupt the flow of pilgrims and worshippers. Anyone caught engaging in these activities will be arrested.

He added that the plan encompasses various areas, including security, crowd control, traffic management, humanitarian aid, and assistance to service organizations.

Al-Bassami said that transportation stations near the Grand Mosque, along the first, second, and third ring roads, as well as the entrances to Makkah, are now operational. These stations play a crucial role in managing traffic to the Grand Mosque.

There is a high demand for Umrah at the start of Ramadan, with the third Saudi expansion allocated for worshippers,” he said, adding that entry and exit are organized to ensure the safety of worshippers walking to and from the vicinity of the Grand Mosque.

“The Grand Mosque and its surroundings are reserved for worship, and visitors are encouraged to assist in serving pilgrims,” he said, asking worshippers two provide space for individuals with special needs so as to not be overwhelmed.

Al-Bassami predicts that over 57 million

Umrah pilgrims will travel by bus this year. “As a result, we have successfully reduced the number of vehicles entering the central district by over 7 million. Additionally, we have utilized 3,000 buses across 16 routes and 13 stations,” he said.

The acting director general of Civil Defense, Maj. Gen. Hamoud Al-Faraj, stated that the directorate commenced its operations early to guarantee the safety of Umrah pilgrims and other visitors in Makkah and Madinah.

“Employees of the directorate conducted 5,645 safety tours and educated visitors and pilgrims through media and mobile exhibitions,” he said.

Al-Faraj added: “Civil Defense centers are located in Makkah, comprising seasonal centers, rapid intervention teams, preventive supervision points, mobile units, field support for machinery and heavy equipment, specialized teams, and the Haram Support Force in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.

“These centers are supported by dedicated volunteers and utilize technology and artificial intelligence, playing a crucial role in ensuring the safety of individuals during the Umrah season.”

Deputy Director General of Passports Maj. Gen. Saleh Al-Murabba discussed the preparations of the General Directorate of Passports to facilitate the arrival and departure procedures of Umrah pilgrims and visitors at all air, land, and sea ports.

He emphasized the need to coordinate and harmonize efforts, providing support and assistance to all agencies involved in serving them while also enhancing awareness among pilgrims and visitors.

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